Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Medical Thing

While all that was going on, I had a medical thing happen. One that called for actual doctors and tests and stuff.  It was like this; I was on my way to an appointment when I started seeing flashing yellow and purple lights off to the right.  They sort of morphed over to the middle, and once they did that I couldn't see.  Well, I could see flashing yellow and purple lights, but not whatever I was trying to actually look at (the road, in this case).  One of the good things about being me is that when I see something that's not there, I know it's not there.  And I knew these flashing lights were not there, but darned if I couldn't see them anyway.
Yeah, like that, except only on one side.

The other thing that happened was that I couldn't talk.  Now, if you know me, you know that's pretty darn weird.  I can talk the ears off a rubber monkey.  When I started talking when I was a baby, they had to tell me to shut up within the first 24 hours.  Actually I could talk, but what I was saying didn't make any sense.  It was like a word salad.  I'd try to say something like, "Thanks, I'll see you later" and it would come out "Stop sign boxcar plant water bottle tornado."  So you can see why this could be the subject of some concern.  Whatever it was, though, it went away after about half an hour.

I happened to see an eye doctor not long after this happened, like I do every year to get a prescription for ever-thicker glasses. This time he asked me all kinds of questions about my blood pressure and my heart rate and suchlike and so forth.  I asked him why all the questions and he said the vision changes in my right eye looked like the sort of pattern he often saw after a transient ischemic attack, which is a small stroke (!).  So I mentioned the flashing lights, and he told me I needed to go see my Regular Doc, pronto.

So off I went to the Regular Doc.  I got as far as "flashing lights" and he dispatched me immediately to the hospital to get a CT scan.  I mean I was in the CT scan machine about a half hour later, which is lightning speed for things medical.  I gathered whatever they saw on the CT scan wasn't too bad, though, because they let me leave the hospital.  And a few days later I called my Regular Doc and was told they saw "no intercranial abnormalities." Oh, and that I do have a brain.

Which is great, of course, but it doesn't solve the mystery of the flashing lights.  I've actually seen them several times, though the aphasia was a new thing.  Last August, approximately, the same thing happened at work, and lasted about half an hour.  Before that, a couple of years earlier, again while driving (there is nothing scarier than suddenly not being able to see while driving).  But it's not like it happens every day, or anything.  Just once in a while.

Anyway, the theory we're working on now is a thing called an "ocular migraine." To quote,"Ocular migraines are painless, temporary visual disturbances that can affect one or both eyes. Though they can be frightening, ocular migraines typically are harmless and self-resolve without medication within 20 to 30 minutes." Which sounds about right. Naturally, the cause is unknown but is probably genetic. There's no treatment or cure, but they're supposed to be harmless, unless you get into a car accident. And unlike normal migraines, they don't hurt. (A plus.) The only thing you can do if one hits is go someplace quiet and lie down. I mean, you can't do anything else because you can't see. 

So I guess enforced rest every once in a while isn't so bad.  It beats having a transient ischemic attack all to hell. They're not sure why I would not be able to talk, but regular migraines sometimes come with aphasia, so maybe it's related.  Oh, and the loss of vision in my right eye?  Possibly caused by a cataract.  Yes, I'm 47 years old and I already have a cataract.  Joy.  

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